Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Strange confluences of my life

After five months of maternity leave, I went back to work last week. And, like many new working moms, I feel like I inhabit two worlds.
My experience might be more extreme, because of the negative nature of most news. So, after almost half a year of thinking about positive things -- cute babies, stuffed animals, playground visits  -- I'm  spending eight hours a day reading about war, famine, debt and political infighting.
Chloe is happiest early in the day, when I go get her out of her crib.  I feed her, change her and play with her before the helper arrives and I start my own day. I love my mornings with her.
Then I go to work and worry about which rebel group is staging an attack where, whether people have decided to set themselves fire, or how many people have frozen to death in Europe.
After that, I go home and listen to nursery rhymes. (Even when the music is off, they are stuck in my head, and I find myself humming "Fre-re Jac-ques, Fre-re Jac-ques" or the "ABC" song incessantly).
This is how my brain is operating: Republican primary. Winky Tinky, the gay Teletubby. Fighting in Syria. Pureed peas vs. apple sauce. Upcoming Myanmar elections. Bedtime story book choice.
The other day, I was surfing through the wire photos and thought, "You know what? President Bashar al-Assad of Syria looks kinda like Bert from Sesame Street. Or, maybe like Beaker from the Muppets."
That's when I take a little break to clear my head.


  1. are right about Beaker!!!
    Excellent post as well. I remember going back and my mother telling me it would be hard because my world was in her words, "very small." It was true too because my world really was just me and the baby and Mr Lipstick. When I got back to work, everything seemed so...loud. Total overstimulation. I can empathize with you. Hugs.

  2. You reminded me when those nursery rhymes stuck in my mind during my office hours. I couldn't stand those songs back then. But, later on, I got used to it... and actually started to appreciate the simplicity of those songs and how ear-candy like they are...I'm sure you will get through this soon....:)

  3. Motherhood.......and everything else.

  4. Hi Lipstick -- I hear you about the "small world." I swore I wouldn't become one of those obsessive moms, and all of my (non-mom) friends encouraged me to do other stuff during my maternity, like read and exercise and do hobbies.
    But I then realized that caring for a baby is so all-consuming, especially those first two months when they have to eat every 2-3 hours round the clock. It's really a small world -- just me and baby, with a small side of husband and helper. (We are so lucky in Hong Kong to have affordable house help and childcare).
    Now that she's almost half a year old, it's better.
    But it is a shock when you suddenly go back to the big, real world of work, communting, colleagues and everything else.

  5. But one thing my work place is not -- it's not loud. It's very hushed in this office.
    And my colleagues have been great, even if most are not parents themselves.
    They sent flowers when my baby was born, and came to visit us at home.
    I got a warm welcome my first day back in the office, including a few hugs from my female colleagues.
    Most importantly, my boss has allowed me to continue a prior schedule of sometimes working two days a week at home. I still have to do all my work, but what a big difference that makes, to be able to take breaks to nurse and see my baby.

  6. Hi Joel -- To be honest, the nursery rhymes are driving us mad. My husband said he even woke up signing one, one morning.
    Our flat is very quiet -- we don't even watch TV. So I want some music on in the background.
    Plus, she LOVES music, more so that anything on video. She dances and smiles and kicks her legs whenever there are songs on.
    I've tried upbeat retro pop songs -- the Beatles, Elvis -- for daytime. And some soothing music -- Bach and Miles Davis -- for sleeping.
    But she still loves nursery rhymes best.

  7. @ Foamie. I'm such a poor rider, the main point for me is really the outfits. And I'm still recovering from having swollen up like a water balloon.
    Last weekend, I managed to get my ankle boots on, but I still have a ways to go before I fit into my knee-high boots. And squeezing into my jodhpurs is but a pipe dream at this point.
    Pity the poor mount who has to carry me.
    Though I presume I'm correct in assuming that you were more interested in the sartorial aspect?
    Speaking of which, do you ever see Mr. Resartus around? Now, that was an odd fellow.

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  9. I am interested in both the sartorial and mounting aspects.

    I hear that Mr. Resartus, or his cousin Mr. Fumier, may be making a comeback.